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Indonesia ( IN-d?-NEE-zh?, -zee-?; Indonesian: [?ndone'sia]), officially the Republic of Indonesia (Indonesian: Republik Indonesia [r?publik ?ndone'sia]),[lacks stress] is a sovereign state in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world's largest island country, with more than thirteen thousand islands, and at 1,904,569 square kilometres (735,358 square miles), the 14th largest by land area and the 7th largest in combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, contains more than half of the country's population.

Indonesia is a republic with an elected parliament and president. It has 34 provinces, of which five have special status. Jakarta, the country's capital, is the second most populous urban area in the world. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and the eastern part of Malaysia. Other neighbouring countries include Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support a high level of biodiversity. The country has abundant natural resources like oil and natural gas, tin, copper and gold. Agriculture mainly produces rice, palm oil, tea, coffee, cacao, medicinal plants, spices and rubber. Indonesia's major trading partners are China, United States, Japan, Singapore and India.

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Masjid Raya Ganting crop.jpg

Ganting Grand Mosque (Indonesian: Masjid Raya Ganting) is a mosque located in Ganting, Padang, Indonesia. Construction began in 1805, making the mosque the oldest in Padang and one of the oldest in Indonesia. It is a Cultural Property of Indonesia and involved persons from various cultural backgrounds in its construction. During the 19th century the mosque was the centre of an Islamic reform in the area. Future president Sukarno spent a time of exhile at the mosque in 1942. The mosque survived the tsunami which struck Padang following the 1833 Sumatra earthquake, but was severely damaged after earthquakes in 2005 and 2009. The one-floor mosque continues to be used as a center for prayer, as well as religious education; it also functions as a pesantren for the community. The mosque is also a tourist attraction. (Read more...)

Selected biography

Soegijapranata Nasional 8 Nov 1960 p1.jpg

Albertus Soegijapranata (1896-1963) was the Apostolic Vicar of Semarang, and later its archbishop. He was also the first native Indonesian bishop and known for his pro-nationalistic stance, often expressed as "100% Catholic, 100% Indonesian". He was born in Surakarta, Dutch East Indies and moved to Yogyakarta when still young. Around 1909 he joined Xaverius College in Muntilan, where he became interested in Catholicism. He was in 1910. He decided to be a priest and was ordained in 1931. In 1934 he was given his own parish in Bintaran. In 1940 Soegijapranata was consecrated as the vicar apostolic of the newly established Apostolic Vicariate of Semarang. As apostolic vicar, Soegijapranata promoted nationalism and worked to get internatinal recognition for the newly independent Indonesia. He was elevated to archbishop in 1961 and, after his death, made a national hero. (Read more...)

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Traditional indonesian instrument being played at the indonesian embassy.jpg
A man playing the gendér, an instrument used in gamelan

Photographer: Fir0002; License: Dual (GNU Free Documentation License [1.2 only] or Creative Commons CC-BY-NC)

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